When he announced that he was stepping down from his leadership role in the House GOP to consider his future plans, many people in Indiana thought Mike Pence would run for Governor of Indiana. But there are a lot of conservative activists who would like him to consider a run for president instead.
After his great speech in Detroit yesterday, I can see why.
Since he was speaking to the Detroit Economic Club, it was only natural that he would focus most of his talk on his prescriptions for economic and fiscal reform. Pence took aim at the Federal Reserve for printing more money in order to put people back to work.
“And while there is no guarantee that this policy will succeed in reducing unemployment, it is near certain that the value of the dollar will be diluted. As economist Larry Kudlow says, ‘the Fed can print more money, but it can’t print jobs.’ … It’s time that the Federal Reserve focus exclusively on price stability and protecting the dollar. And it’s also time that policymakers in Washington D.C. embrace the kind of reforms that will promote real growth.”
Kudos to Pence for also calling for a flat tax. There’s no reason that this idea had to die along side the failed Steve Forbes presidential campaign. So many countries that escaped Communism adopted a flat tax and jumpstarted their economies. Yet, this Land of Liberty still has its Byzantine tax code. (I imagine even a flat tax will likely keep the mortgage deduction… just a prediction.)
Pence took direct aim at the role of runaway spending and the hindrance that will place on our economy if no reforms are enacted.
“I believe the answer is a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution. Since World War II the federal government has operated on an average of just under 20 percent of gross domestic product. But, in the past three years, federal spending has climbed to nearly 25 percent of GDP. Left unchecked, and accounting for no new programs, federal spending will reach 50 percent of GDP by 2055. We should remember what Ronald Reagan said, ‘No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.’ We must have a mechanism that forces Washington as a whole to make the hard choices necessary to reform our nation’s addiction to big spending and unsustainable entitlements.
But Pence didn’t focus only on economics. He also said an American economic recovery would also require a moral renewal as well. One reporter, apparently not understanding Mike Pence’s evangelical Christianity, said: “His plan for restoring success also requires a return to traditional family values and organized religion.” (Organized religion? Well, you got the first part right.)
But Pence’s call for renewal would hardly spook independents:
“Finally, to renew American exceptionalism, we must recognize that our present crisis is not merely economic but moral in nature. At the root of these times should be the realization that people in positions of authority from Washington to Wall Street have walked away from the timeless truths of honesty, integrity, an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and the simple notion that you ought to treat the other guy the way you want to be treated.
“As strongly as I believe in the economic policies in this address, I know we will not restore this nation with public policy alone. It will require public virtue. ‘When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ As we promote policies to restore American exceptionalism, we must also reaffirm our nation’s commitment to the values that have made our prosperity possible. As we seek to build national wealth, we must renew our commitment to the institutions that nurture the character of our people – traditional family and religion.”
This is why Mike Pence won the straw poll at the Family Research Council’s event this past summer. Pro-family and pro-life activists also like Mike for his fight to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.
And unlike Huckabee, Mike Pence is also someone that fiscal conservatives champion. In fact, the Club for Growth has promoted Mike Pence at every opportunity, suggesting that John McCain name Pence as his running mate in 2008 and then encouraging him to run for the Senate in 2010.
Many Republican activists are left uninspired by the current crop of candidates considering a presidential run. Tim Pawlenty hasn’t attracted much support. Like most pro-lifers, I don’t trust Mitt Romney. And fiscal conservatives are diametrically opposed to Mike Huckabee. Even a lot of Republicans are suspect of Sarah Palin’s chances to win a general election campaign.
I have to say, Mike Pence makes sense.